Tips and tricks!


Tips, Tricks, and lil’ rules
I’ve learned along the way……..
(Keep this copy to review, print out or share link with your wedding party)


1. Us 3, MAKE A TEAM……

If you are flying solo at this meeting, or individually received this digitally- please share with your soon to be spouse!!!! That way, the three of us are a team, and each know what to expect from me.

That also means, you, my couple is “my client”. I no longer schedule additional meetings with parents, even if they are footing the bill. Please invite any and all to our initial consultation, but all communication, contract, phone calls, emails, meetings are exclusively between you guys and me. If mothers/mothers in law/maid of honors want to add/minus services or have questions/concerns, all contact goes from you to me and back in the same direction)…. This way I honor your wishes above all else, and keep my sanity!


Leading up to the wedding- It is your job to reach out to me if you have questions, need suggestions, or to schedule a styling consultation, (ideally within 3 months of booking). I’m totally here to help, but I’m not someone who will call to “check in”….ask my friends lol. So reach out to me, within reason, if you need some guidance or problem solving.

Secondly, know that I will tell you each personally if there’s anything you need to know on my end….so if someone comes up saying “the photographer is sooooo mad at the groomsmen for being too wild”, 1. Chances are that is soooo untrue, and 2. If there’s an issue I’ll deal with it Directly and discreetly and you do not need to be worried about a thing! That also means, that unless told by me, no one speaks for me. For example, the property owner specifying what time the groom needs to be ready (and they show up 4 hrs. early in tuxes in 101 degree weather for photos looking at me like I’m the one that required it), or the wedding planner saying to be ready at different times and then we are working against one another.


Please look at the timeline page, under wedding tab to get even more tips!

Good timeline = More photos. Construct your timeline ASAP. Please plan your timeline accordingly…..if working with a planner let them know that I have suggested these “rules”. Having time beforehand means I can do my job better, and you all can relax. When you run late, and leave 3 minutes for your bridal portrait and bridesmaids photos, you are wanting me to give what I give to my other brides, but with no time to execute. The more you plan, and stay on time, the more photos you will have! Please send me your timeline for review as possible. For weddings planned after 3:30 please consider a first look, as my goal is to have 3 hours for my grooms to have no expectations at the end of the night. I also want time to do what you have hired me for, which is a variety of fun poses in various locations that reflect my style. Having little to no time to do this, means we are both disappointed. Plus, often waiting until after ceremony means family pics, wedding party pics, and before you’ve even started couples pics, your man is already completely “pictured out”.


In planning your day, it is helpful for Bride to have minimum of 3 hours between the time you are completely ready and ceremony time! This is a great opportunity to take your bridal portraits and bridesmaids pics, plus makes a bride’s day way less stressful! Bride 3 hours before ceremony. if I say 3, its likely to be 2 or less and that leaves little time for bridesmaids pics, bridal portrait, transport to venue, plus time to be”put away” before guests arrive.

Grooms and Groomsmen

I try to not have you guys suited up with hours to spare….you all get too hot and too cranky! So aim to be ready 2 hrs before ceremony. Within 1 hr of ceremony time you should be at ceremony site greeting and seating your guests.*** I try to meet up with boys with pants and shirts on only nearby, or at the venue, so I can get final detail shots of them getting ready without sending a second shooter, in mansland another whole photographer to deal with. Please plan your timeline such that I can leave girls and get pics of the guys for about 20 minutes (Something to consider when brides and groom are getting ready more than 5 minutes away from eachother).


If bridesmaids are not getting ready with bride, or having their makeup/hair done elsewhere, please make sure they come to location completely ready with 3.5 hours to spare before ceremony. That means One hr before the bride gets into her dress, Plus the additional hour to take photos prior to ceremony.-Bridesmaids-3.5 hrs before ceremony
Our goal is to have time for bridesmaids pics, bridal portrait, and groomsmen’s pics out of the way prior to ceremony.

If brides want boudoir shots before putting on dress, make sure you have planned about 10-15 minutes for that!


Dress and shoes- Unless you are getting ready at a salon, please have your dress with you in the morning. photos of booth the dress and shoes helps to tell the “story” of your day.

Bouquet– Ask Florist to have your bouquet delivered early. Make arrangements to have your bouquet and the bridesmaid’s bouquets delivered to your room early. This way they are ready and available for photographs.

Invitation/Save the date card– Please consider bringing an invitation and save the date card with stationary if you want it in your wedding album.

Both rings/wedding and engagement– This way we can get ring photos before the ceremony.Its nuts trying to remember at the reception!


Mother of the Bride-

Make an appointment for both hair and makeup! Offer same courtesy to grooms mom. Spoil yourself and take it in. make your appointment early, aka possibly the first appointment of the morning, since you most likely will be rushing around setting up and greeting guests as they trickle in.

Mother (and Grandma if you choose) puts bride in dress alone. This is great for 3 reasons. One it is beyond special for your mother to have that honor, and 2. It’s a calm before the storm. 3. The reaction when the bridesmaid see you for the first time is fantastic!

Mother of the Groom-

Consider professional hair and makeup. Since the Bride’s mom has a special “job” with the dress, The groom’s mom has a special moment pinning the “flower” (in manland) on the groom, his father, and his groomsmen. Brides-please inform your florist that the mother will be taking care of this task and make sure to have someone find me before pinning happens!


I love that it’s a party! But just try to pace yourselves and save the big drinking for after the ceremony…we usually get all the wedding party shots done right after, then game on donkey kong!


My signature, as the thing that sets me apart from most photographers is a wedding party “road-trip” before/after your ceremony…….of venue is limiting, it might mean cars. It may be just a walk, to other parts of venue or neighboring property. Super fun, If not doing a first look, it doesn’t mean leaving your party for long, and makes for incredible pics! Be planning on sober transportation! And let DJ know he will be announcing you for the first time upon return to your reception to keep party moving!


Family pics are immediately following ceremony, unless you are doing a first look, including family pics and want all photos out of the way before the ceremony. Family pics can go quicker with a shot list. Any other photos you are obsessed with getting can also be listed here, i.e. if an out of town person is coming that you want to have a photo with, or a special heirloom. Throughout the day, I will try my hardest to get all the pics you want on this list…….but know if I’m running around getting a photo or the organist or the gift table, I might be missing even something cooler.
Also, during your party I will most likely ask, “is there any other photos     you may want”…..that is your chance to say yes or no, not months later!

*****Please note, and brides can tell you….if family pics are taking too long and there are just one more and one more and one more, and I’m a. losing the groom, 2. losing time, or 3. losing light, I’m going to stick up for my bride and say “no more”. It is not fair to my couple when parents take all the photo time. I want you all to get everything you want, but never at the cost of my couple 🙂


If there are guests that do not get along, please give me the heads up so I can help by not putting them next to one another in photos! Tell me as much as I “should” know. Remarriges, nasty divorces, lousy siblings, etc! This way I can “know everything” without acting as if I know anything!


.and this is a big one…….

As stipulated in contract, no guest is allowed to take duplicate photos of the photos I pose (wedding party, couple). This is so your photos are not being put on social media before you, the paying client, have a chance to enjoy them and select what you want put out there. It also protects me and doesn’t look like I just took a better quality photo of everything you have already saw!!! Included is a postcard to give your officiant to ask guests to be respectful of this policy without you feeling any pressure to enforce it. Please do not worry about it on your wedding day, I will deal with it. But, if you know that there are paparazzi guests, or mom-a-razzis, please let them know beforehand that they are free to snap off family shots, and candids, but any posed photos are the exclusive property of photographer and couple.


great to read and great to leave…..Please consider leaving me a review on Darby Johnson Photography page…..or Yelp after your honeymoon! The next bride and groom are looking for your feedback, to help guide them! Please consider putting up a review for me!

13. Consider interviewing referred vendors first!

-Assembling the “dream team” makes your day ummm, well literally, “makes your day”. I have 4 wedding planners I stand behind, 2-3 favorite Djs that rock, 2-3 videographers who are amazing, 2 dreamy florists, 3 makeup artists I adore, 2 hair girls who are sooo good, etc. I am super picky! I do not refer professionals who I do not think deserve it. Please ask for referrals until I can update site with all their info…coming soon